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Fiction: 1970s

Fiction of the Day

Diary of a Country Mouse

By Jesse Ball

Thursday, 10 December.

Giles shows us the sample mice and I am, as if for the first time, overcome with joy. Perhaps when I was a child I had feelings like this—but not in many years. I look, for instance, at a small gray mouse, smaller than the others, and it is as if I am seeing (anything) for the first time. He moves among his neighbors so swiftly and yet without error—as if on a track, as if held up by threads from above that prompt him. For reasons I cannot yet fathom, the edge of the enclosure is of great interest to the mice. I suppose there are no such edges in the so-called natural world. No one, not even we, are ready for them (though they are upon us). He sniffs there at the edge and his nose moves with almost impossible articulation.

Dr. Justino Ybarra, Dispeller of Blindness

By Ray Russell

The treacherous nature of human language is shown with admonitory force in an incident well known, if not fully understood, among the people of this part of the hemisphere in which I spend my days. In the capitol of one of those countries bordering on mine, during the rule of the present dictator’s infamous uncle, there was erected a spacious and elegant clinic, all of white marble, modelled chiefly after the Alhambra, but with disquieting influences of Versailles and Stonehenge.